In the articulation of my own thinking two striking and compact expressions of Augustine have had an impact on me from the beginning, and continue to do so in often unconscious ways.

The first is when he describes the character of his own itinerary and thought in the following terms as a double movement: Ab exterioribus ad interiora, ab inferioribus ad superiora – from the exterior to the interior, from the inferior to the superior (Enarratio in Psalmum, 145).  The second is when Augustine speaks of God as interior intimo meo et superior summo meo – more interior to me than my most intimate intimacy and superior to my highest summit (Confessions 3.6.11). 

These considerations have entered into my earliest thoughts, such as Desire, Dialectic and Otherness, as well as more recent work, such as The Intimate Universal and GodsendsGodsends is structured as a journey along the Augustinian axis. My relation to Augustine is what I call a companioning approach. In the companioning approach a particular thinker, such as Augustine, is a source of inspiration and challenge, not always explicitly acknowledged as such, but of influence perhaps at a more intimate level, providing something like a secret touchstone, in relation to intellectual and spiritual excellence.